LGBTQ+ Welcoming

I identify as being LGBTQ+ or another group often excluded from church communities. Will I be welcome in your congregation?

We welcome everyone seeking God's presence to our service of worship and into the full life and leadership of the church. Whatever your background might be – your race, your nationality, your age, your physical or mental ability, your gender identity or expression, your sexual orientation – whoever you are and wherever you come from, we welcome you into our community of faith. As an official Open and Affirming congregation, the United Church of Christ of Seneca Valley welcomes people of all sexual orientations and all gender identities and expressions.

Open and Affirming (ONA) is the United Church of Christ's (UCC) designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the UCC which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.

Welcome as in "I can come in and sit in the back and not bring too much attention to myself" or welcome as in "I can fully be who I am" in worship and congregational life?

Welcome as in we fully celebrate all of who you are however you choose to share that. But we don't just say you are welcome to attend Sunday worship with us, we also affirm that you are gifted and called by God and as such are expected to be fully included in all aspects of church life. Members of the LGBTQ+ community, and other historically underrepresented groups in the wider church such as those who are disabled or struggle with mental health issues or are immigrants, are integral to our church and hold positions of leadership as fully equal and honored beloved children of God.

I am Trans or Non-Binary. Will people be willing to use my proper pronouns?

Absolutely. Just let us know if you prefer she/hers, he/his, they/theirs, or however you identify yourself. We promise to do our best to get it right and would appreciate you correcting us if we get it wrong.

Why is inclusion so important to your church?

We believe that every single person is a beloved child of God. Our intention is to be a space in which all are welcome so that we are creating a community made in the image of God's diverse and beautiful Realm. We love looking around our worship space and seeing a wide variety of families and individuals all singing and praying and working together.

But aren't there scripture verses in the Bible that claim homosexuality is a sin?

There certainly have been verses used like that in order to deny people who identify as LGBTQ+ entry into communities of faith. These are often called the "clobber verses" as they are used to beat people down and deny them their full humanity. We believe these verses are often taken out of context in many ways. But what's more we believe there are other verses that negate these clobber verses and demonstrate that God, and Jesus, work to continually expand the definition of what is considered sacred and what is considered profane. In addition we believe that God is still speaking, often through the lives of LGBTQ+ people who have become church leaders and members clearly called by God to do valuable ministry. We'd be happy to engage in further conversation about why we think our stance is both biblical and in keeping with a Christian worldview. Come visit us and let's chat!